It’s there in black & white 

Okay, the sunroom in the “house that got away” was empty, but look what it could have become? 

Do you decorate your house the way you dress? If you looked in my closet, you would see that it’s easily three-quarters black dresses, slacks and tops and the rest jeans (some of them black) and white shirts. I do have a navy dress and my spring/summer wardrobe is a little more colorful, but still built on black & white bones. So is it a surprise that this is the combo that’s catching my decorating eye?  

In a season of design trends and color picks for the new year, I’m throwing a curve and going for black and white. It’s crisp, it’s classic, it’s terribly chic. And as I recently discovered reviewing my Instagram favorites and saves, I have been consciously or subconsciously collecting examples of black & white home style. Take a look at just a few of my Instagram favorites to see what I mean.

I first fell in love with black & white floors at “the house that got away.” I think everyone has one of these — a house they fell for, that was perfect but sold too fast or was too expensive. If you love houses, it always rests there, in the back of your brain in the “would have/should have/could have file.” This happened for me when we were buying our first house. My “house that got away” was a stately older home, part of which had been converted into a rental apartment (the only reason we could have afforded it). The space that made the house for me was a black and white checked marble floor in the sunroom off the living room. (Actually, in retrospect, I’m sure the sunroom was part of the charm.)

All of which is a long way of saying, look at these floors: 

This must be a huge foyer, considering all the furniture. But the floor! 

The black & white entry floor, above, is classic, but also a grand space, not my style (or budget) at all. But those floors are hard to ignore. On the other hand, the kitchen below is not that big and carries the black and white into the adjacent dining area. I have always been drawn to black cabinets. Originally, I wanted my kitchen island to be black, then fell for the trendier gray. I still wonder if there are black cabinets in my future.



I love this country island, and it takes some of the edge off the floor and over-sized hood while still making the  black and white statement. 

One of the things I’ve noticed in looking over these photos is that it would be easy to introduce smaller bits of black into an already neutral room. Picture and mirror frames, lamps and shades as well as other accessories can add a subtle or substantial impact, depending on their use. And of course there is fabric. The decorator friend that helped me with the house we did buy (after the one that got away) found me polished chintz curtains on a black ground (rejected by a client who clearly had a lack of vision) that I acquired “for a song.” Unfortunately I had to leave them behind when we sold the house.

The black & white in this kitchen is subtler, but appealing.

Obviously the oversized french stove makes a real statement, but that’s softened by the open shelves, white dishes, baskets, and even the lamp on the counter. 

Actually, kitchens are a big commitment. How about a powder room or bathroom in black and white. What do you think? It’s a smaller “serving” of black & white, but with a timeless feel.

Steve Cordony is an IG favorite now. Look how he balances a double black vanity with some gold on the mirrors and brass hardware.  P.S., see the reflection of a black-framed shower door in the mirror on the left?
Again, the vanity and a mirror, fixtures and painting. Love the black liner worked into the simple subway tile! This feels do-able and live-able to me. 

Black & white decor is not limited to kitchens & baths. How about this bedroom. The black bed with crisp white bedding is neatly balanced by the antique screen and table. If the entire room had been decked out in antiques as on the left, it might come off as a bit fussy. But the black bed and nightstand balance that. I wonder what the rest of the room looks like?


This hallway vignette is simple and contemporary, but hardly boring. I love the contrast between the traditional floral painting and the more modern vase and table. A transitional space like this is perfect for introducing a clean black & white arrangement. Sort of a visual palate cleanser.


I have always been a sucker for dark artwork in a light room.  I adore the image of this small kitchen and have kept it in my idea file for years. I love that the dark background in the painting picks up the black in the ceiling lantern and the lamp on the counter. What genuinely thoughtful choices.

Dark art cream walls

The same is true in the living room below, where well-placed accessories introduce a bit of black into an essentially light room. The black coffee table calls out the black trim around the firebox and a few black accessories on the bookshelves help tie it together.

Black Accessories Shelves

So, now I’m prowling thru my house looking for more black & white and/or ways to incorporate it. And I have a start:


So, my plan is to add a little black & white throughout our house. I actually have a bit of a start in the living room. This lamp with the black shade was my mother’s choice (she was the real design maven). We purchased the two large prints on the street in Rome and had them framed in black. I think there needs to be something more on the wall here, but I just haven’t decided what, so stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by and scrolling all the way thru. (I know I can get really carried away.) What about you, any decorating plans for the new year?

See you next time!




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